The Dominican Summer League Cardinals Report: June 8, 2009

By Josh Jones, Cardinals Best News Links

The Dominican Summer League Cardinals picked up where they left off in the 2008 season.  The team did open their season with a win but will be carrying a three-game losing streak into the next period.  The Cardinals are 2-5, four games out of first place, and sharing third place in the Santo Domingo North Division with the Phillies.  They are 1-2 at home and 1-3 on the road.

The Cardinals opened their season on the road visiting the Phillies.  The Phils were the first to plate runners and were up 6-2 heading into the eighth inning.  Errors by the Phillies would change the game around and put the Cardinals in the lead as they tacked on five runs in the eighth.  The Cardinals won 7-6.

The next game the Cardinals hosted the Mariners.  This time around the Cardinals errors came back to bite them.  The M’s scored six runs in the first four frames and plated four more in the later innings.  The Cardinals did score three in the third but it was not enough as the Mariners won 10-4.

The Cardinals then went on the road to play the newly formed Athletics squad.  Instead of having two separate teams like last season the Athletics consolidated both teams into one.  The Redbirds struck first taking a 2-1 lead and holding that until the ninth inning.  In the ninth the Cardinals closer couldn’t shut the door and let the A’s jump ahead and win the game.  The A’s pulled off the game with a 3-2 win.

The Phillies came to town for a second meeting between them and the Cardinals during this past week.  The game went scoreless for the first two frames and then the runs started piling up.  The Phillies and Cardinals exchanged runs over the next two innings, with the Phils leading 6-4.  Then the Redbirds held them scoreless in the fifth and ran up the score in the bottom of the inning, plating five runs.  The Cardinals won their second game of the new season 9-6, with the game being called after the fifth inning.

The Cardinals visited the Mariners for their second meeting this period.  The Mariners came out swinging scoring five runs in the first two innings.  However the Redbirds didn’t rollover as they scored five of their own, to tie it up, heading into the bottom of the sixth.  The Mariners scored one in the bottom of the sixth and both teams bullpens shut their opponents down for the rest of the game.  The Mariners squeaked by with a 6-5 victory.

The Athletics visited the Cardinals and this game ended up being a pitcher’s duel.  The Cardinals gave up only two hits and the Mariners only allowed four.  But walks in the bottom of the ninth opened the door for the A’s to score the only run of the game and take the win.

The Phillies hosted the Cardinals and were looking for a little redemption after blowing the first two games between the two.  The Cardinals struck first in the second and held the lead until the sixth, when the Phils scored seven runs over the next three innings.  The Phillies bullpen then held the Cards to only one run in the final two innings and won 7-3. On a more positive note, the Cardinals did turn a total of four double plays during this game.

Who’s Hot

Grabiel Hernandez has been the only consistent hitter on the team up to this point in the season.  The 17-year old switch hitter has gone 8-for-24 (.333) with one double, four RBIs, nine total bases, three walks, four runs, three stolen bases, and struck out three times.  He’s had two multiple hit games including a three-hit game in his professional debut.  The newly signed shortstop has helped turn four double plays and committed three fielding errors.

Victor Encanacion had himself one multiple hit game to start the season.  The 19-year old right-handed hitter is 4-for-15 (.267) with two doubles, six RBIs, four total bases, four runs, four walks, struck out three times, and grounded into two double plays.  He’s played three of his games in right field (one fielding error), one in left, one as a designated hitter, and one in both right and center.

Luis Pimentel opened his 2009 campaign with a five-game hitting streak.  The 20-year old right-handed hitter went 6-for-23 (.261) with two doubles, eight total bases, four walks, five runs, one stolen base, and four strikeouts.  The second-year DSL participant has been slated as designated hitter in three games, played three games at first base, and one at third.  He’s committed one fielding error (at third) and been on the back end of four double plays.

Roberto Reyes is the only player on the Cardinals who has legged out both a double and a triple this season.  The 19-year old left-handed hitter went 4-for-18 (.222) with two doubles, one triple, two RBIs, eight total bases, four walks, one stolen base, and nine strikeouts.  He been moved around the field playing in right field, left field, centerfield, first base, and designated hitter.

Charllan Jimenez has been the bright spot for this team’s pitching staff.  The 19-year old right-hander made his first appearance of the season on June 2, pitching four scoreless innings, giving up three hits, hit one batter, and struck out a team best seven.  The team gave him the start in his his next game, on June 6, and he impressed again.  Jimenez allowed four hits, no runs, three walks, and struck out four over four innings.

Who’s Not

Jose Pena began the 2009 season hitless in his first four games.  The 17-year old right-handed hitter went 1-for-15 (.067) with one double, one RBI, two total bases, two runs, two walks, and eight strikeouts.  Pena played his first four games in left field and last in right field, without committing an error.

Santo Sandoval had gone hitless in his last three games.  The 20-year old right-handed hitter has gone 1-for-12 (.083) with one RBI, one total base, one run, one stolen base, and seven strikeouts.  Sandoval played his first game in right field and last four in left field (one fielding error).

Alejandro Pinard was the first pitcher on the team to cough up a home run.  The 20-year old right-hander open his season coming out of the bullpen on May 30.  He pitched 2.1 innings allowing four hits, four runs (two earned), one home run, one walk, hit one batter, threw one wild pitch, and struck out one.  The third-year DSL pitcher received a rare start in his next appearance and was hit hard.  Pinard gave up six hits, five runs (four earned), walked two, but did strike out five.

Jefferson Segundo is currently the Cardinals worst pitcher by way of ERA (11.57).  The 20-year old right-hander had a pretty decent opening to his season as he pitched two innings allowing one hit, one earned run, three walks, threw two wild pitches, and struck out three.  But when it came to his second appearance he was knocked out after only a third of an inning.  Segundo was credited with two walks that ended up scoring due to the Cardinals’ ineffective closer.

Jose Pasen, who I was penciling in as the team’s ace, has fallen real short in the beginning of the 2009 season.  The 19-year old was tapped as the Cardinals’ starter in the second game of the season.  He was knocked out after only 2 and a third innings, giving up five hits, six runs (two earned), two walks, and four strikeouts.  Pasen came out of the bullpen in his next game and pitched three hitless innings allowing one earned run, four walks, threw one wild pitch, and struck out three.  The former outfielder has earned losing decisions in both contests and has picked off one runner in each of those games.

Comings and Goings

There has been plenty of off season signings and I encourage everyone to familiarize themselves with the roster either at the MiLB site or here at The Cardinal Nation when Brian Walton updates the roster matrix.

Former Minnesota Twins DSL hitting coach Claudio Almonte took over for Nelson Norman, who left the organization.

Former assistant to Derek Lilliquist in Jupiter, Bill Villaneuva took over the pitching coach duties.

Rene Rojas was the only member of the 2008 DSL Cardinals staff that is returning, as hitting coach.

A couple old but new names, to the team, are catchers Jesus Montero and Yorbel Alcala.  Both were backstops for the Venezuelan Summer League Cardinals in 2008.

Alexander Castellano, Hayrich Martina, and Tharick Martines were all reassigned to the VSL Cardinals after spending the 2008 season in the Dominican Republic.

Bernardo Villar, Carlos Mejia, Juan Jacquez, Randy Santos, Walter Santos, Eddy Rivera, Braulin Beltre, Yedilson Pena, and 2008 July 2nd signing Dennis Montero were cut during the off season.

Marcos Martinez played in one game this season, on June 1, and struck out in three of his four at-bats.  He was released a couple days later.

Last season Audris Perez and Angel Cruz received promotions to the GCL Cardinals, during the season.  Amaury Castillo and Angel De Jesus are currently in extended spring training trying to follow.

A couple newspaper/internet articles came out on three Dominican Republic born players, in the Cardinals farm system that I would like to pass along for your viewing pleasure. Amaury Castillo, Audris Perez, and Michael Avila.  Great reads and they have pictures!

Next Up (Season Record, vs. Cardinals)

June 7: Mariners (6-1, 0-2)

June 8: Off Day

June 9: @ Athletics (4-3, 0-2)

June 10: Phillies (2-5, 2-1)

June 11: @ Mariners (6-1, 0-2)

June 12: Athletics (4-3, 0-2)

June 13: @ Phillies (2-5, 2-1)

June 14: Mariners (6-1, 0-2)